Friday, September 21, 2007

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Last summer Northwestern's Council of 100, (which I describe as the one hundred most successful women ever to graduate from Northwestern University -- who are willing to go to those meetings) gave a party for undergraduates and young alumnae at Cafe Roma in the heart of Beverly Hills' golden triangle. Here are some pictures of the event. I invite everyone who was there to write a comment and/or a picture caption.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

More on the Dreaded British National Health

My cousin Cecile wrote: "Had an exciting experience with the British National Health Service. On our last night in London, I went into anaphylactic shock in the middle of the night with hives on every inch of my body including palms and soles. When my tongue began to swell and I could no longer speak clearly, I tried without success to remember the emergency phone number in England. (They were staying in a borrowed flat.) I finally hit on it 15 minutes later and, with some difficulty, the ambulance got close enough to our building for us to find it by its flashing lights. Right in the ambulance they gave me intravenous antihistamine, oxygen, a nebulizer and epinephrine.

15 minutes later the symptoms were clearly being reduced and I could speak normally again. Did you know that all emergency treatment is free? It's also caring and thoughtfully given. Yes, we made the plane, but my poor husband aged a few years watching me go through it all.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Braving the Dreaded National Health Service UK

Braving the Dreaded British National Health

A couple of weeks ago in Edinburgh, I fell and scraped my knee. I week later the little abrasion had become large, red, puffy, and sore. I wanted someone to look at it, but I was still in the UK. Not only was I in the UK, I was in small-town England. Bury St. Edmunds is a charming, historic market village in East Anglia, but not exactly a medical hub. Still, my knee needed looking after.

The hotel manager told me there was a doctor’s office next door, so with trepidation, (I’d heard the horror stories about long waits and grim conditions) I ventured in. A receptionist told me I’d be seen by a nurse practitioner who specialized in abrasions, asthma treatment, and other chronic conditions. Apologizing, she said she’d have to charge me fifty pounds since I wasn’t registered on National Health.

After waiting in a pleasant waiting room for all of seven to ten minutes, I was greeted by a friendly, efficient nurse who bandaged my knee with a waterproof surgical dressing and asked if I was otherwise in good health. My husband mentioned I have asthma. She gave me advice on how to manage it and a booklet (not an advertisement from a drug company) but a manual published by the National Health Service NHS with clear information on how to manage asthma along with a card to carry in your wallet, outlining a treatment plan, and phone numbers including the Asthma UK Adviceline available from 9 to 5 with interpreting service in more than 100 languages and a 24 hour nurse-led helpline for all medical inquiries along with websites and further information.

We were out of there and on our way in half an hour and I’m happy to report my knee is fine.

Monday, July 30, 2007

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The Council of 100 in Los Angeles

C100 in LA--The Southern Belle Loves a Good Party

One thing all Southern Belles have in common is we love parties and we were trained from birth to give them. So this year, when it was time for Northwestern University’s Council of 100 to give a party in Los Angeles, it fell on me to organize it.

What’s the Council of 100 you might ask? I explain it as the one hundred most successful women ever to graduate from Northwestern—who are willing to go to those meetings. Our mandate is to mentor and serve as role models for women students and young alumnae. This year we met at Caffe Roma in the heart of Beverly Hill’s golden triangle. Here are a couple of photos of the event. I’ll hold these on the blog until I get some comments from participants and then I’ll post more. So come on ladies and gentlemen (there were two gentlemen in attendance) start commenting, especially those in the pictures, and I'll put up more photos.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Cost Effect of Global Warming

The Cost Effect Of Global Warming Or Stupid Is As Stupid Does

When you hear the Bush Administration or other politicians talking about complying with the Kyoto Protocols as long as they are “cost effective,” they are talking about the cost to their campaign contributors not to you and me.

This week the Commerce Committee gutted Senator Feinstein’s sensible bill requiring car companies to improve over-all fuel efficiency of their fleets by 10 miles per gallon over the next twelve years. There’s nothing radical about that plan. It may even be too little, too late. But Tuesday the Commerce Committee added a little zinger to the bill: It would let the car makers off the hook if the annual goals aren’t “cost-effective.”

Cost effective to whom? If we really took global warming seriously, we would see an economic boom similar to that in Silicone Valley. Thousands of jobs would be created along with hundreds of multi-millionaires. More important, thousands of lives would not be ruined, costing us the taxpayers billions of dollars. Hurricane Katrina and the tornados that swept the Midwest may not be a direct product of global warming. But we do know global warming will create more hurricanes and more tornados ruining countless lives, costing billions of dollars.

If people get the government they deserve, then as my character Sissy LeBlanc might say, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

PREMONITION & the Premier

The Hollywood Premier of Premonition

Last night I went to the Hollywood premier of Premonition, the new thriller starring Sandra Bullock.  You've probably seen the ads.  Time is out of joint.  Bullock is told her husband is dead, but the next morning she wakes up and he’s alive.  She tries to deal with her feelings of abandonment, betrayal, and grief, while she fights to make sense out of what's happening to her.  Emotionally, the movie is thoroughly satisfying and beautifully directed.  Logically, some strings are left untied.  Like the best modern art you’ll be left with things unsaid, things to puzzle over, a chance to bring your own perceptions into the experience.  Most films are so logical, so wrapped up, you have nothing to discuss afterwards with friends over dinner.  The brilliance of Premonition is you'll have lots to discuss.  The film and questions about the film will haunt you for days.

We were invited to the premier by the director, Mennan Yapo.  His is a real rags- to-riches story.  A successful movie executive in Europe, Mennan put everything he had into writing and directing his and first feature, the German film, Soundless.  It was accepted at the Los Angeles Film Festival, but by that time Mennan had no money to stay here for meetings with production companies, so he stayed with us.  It was an exciting time, that magical moment when a star is born.  Every day messengers dropped off dozens of scripts, most of them he turned down.  A true artist and totally focused, he went back to Germany without finding a project he could put his heart into.  Then the script for Premonition arrived and the rest is history.

What's a real Hollywood premiere like?  The sidewalk on fabled Sunset Boulevard is cordoned off.  Fans press against the ropes.  The paparazzi are there en masse.  The director and his entourage step out of a limo.  Cameras flash.  Guards are stationed everywhere to make sure that only the favored few get into the theater.  So what goes on inside the lobby of the theater?  Not much.  Friends greet one another.  A few, very few, scantily-clad, aspiring actresses parade around hoping to be seen, but for the most part it looks like the crowd at your Saturday night Cineplex.  The after party was down the block in a beautiful old Hollywood building with period chandeliers and winding staircases.  Four bars served free drinks on three floors.  Loud music was piped through all the rooms.  But like big parties from Shreveport to Sacramento it can be intimidating or fun.  It's all about who you know.